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What are Your 2019 Writing Goals?

December 12, 2018– Goals are important for everything in life. If you’re a follower of this blog, you’ll know that I’ve said it a million times, “You can’t hit a target you can’t see.” I’m a firm believer that goals are essential for success, and here’s the thing, even if you fail to reach your goal, you’ll be a hell of a lot closer than you would be if you had never set a goal in the first place.

So, as the end of the year looms closer, it’s time to focus on what you want for 2019 and beyond regarding your writing career!

Here are some things that you could consider, but remember, goals are personal, and it all depends on what YOU want for yourself. Will 2019 be the year that you:

  1. Finish your novel– make this the year that you finally finish it! Set a timeline and stick to it. Stop procrastinating!
  2. Start a writing business-figure out what you need to do and get it done. Start with one thing at a time. A lot of info is available online, and you can always bring in the pro’s for help, talk to your accountant, bank, whoever you need to help point you in the right direction.
  3. Write every day– If you choose this goal and stick to it, you’ll get an UNBELIEVABLE amount of writing done. Your writing will improve, you’ll get better at self-editing, and you will have accomplished something that only professionals do. This will be a fabulous 2019 goal if you’re serious about turning your writing into something. Set a goal of words or pages per day and sit your ass in the chair. Make an appointment with yourself and DON’T CANCEL.
  4. Join a club-Is this the year that you’ll finally join like-minded authors? Will you complete continuing education to start or continue to hone your writing skills? Will you say yes to new opportunities? Are you ready to break out of your shell and see what’s in store for you?

I’ve got my own goals in store for 2019 that I’ve already started. So why should you wait? Start working on them now and just think of all that you’ll get done before January!

Here’s to your success in 2019 and beyond!
X LLB

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Fun Facts about Our Books!

December 10, 2018- This is super fun! Each one of our books is very special in their own right. Check out the details below on what’s hiding in our books!

Picture books: 

  • Did you know that in Miranda the Very LOUD Mouse, there is a hidden piece of cheese on almost every page? Can you find them? Also, on the page where Miranda is at the museum, there are some pretty famous art pieces that include Michelangelo’s David statue, Starry Night painting by Van Gogh, The Scream painting by Edvard Munch, and of course, The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci.
  • The book Pants, by Tamara Botting, has different pieces of fabric that were digitally scanned in to get the colours and textures on the page. This book also contains colouring pages at the back for kids to design their very own pair of pants!
  • Martin the Tap-Dancing Frog and Spiders Wearing Sweaters are both hand painted and then scanned in digitally to an illustration program! That’s why both books have such a unique look. Also, Spiders Wearing Sweaters can be ordered with or without the adorable plush spider that came in your kit!
  • Sammy, the Singing Cat, features some very famous Jazz artists on the wall of one of the music schools; Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, and Frank Sinatra make a cameo, but this time in animal form!
  • The Adventures of Milan and Friends; Trouble with Trolls (A Halloween Tail) has the titles of our books on the spine of the books that are featured in the treehouse! Plus, there’s a tribute to all of our animal friends that we have lost, on the wall of the same page. Also, Milan is a real golden retriever in the author’s life!
  • Phillip Star has the best ending! You’ll have to read it😊
  • Panda, the Very Bad Cat, is based on the author’s real cat named Panda and a smug shot of said cat is featured in the back of the book. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this title is donated to animal shelters to help animals in need.
  • Deer Diary features a sneak peek on an overlapping character! There is a poster on the wall of the last page that features the character Frog from Martin the Tap-Dancing Frog.

 All of the books by Lacey L. Bakker, feature a PANDA in one form or another as a hat’s off to the book that started this entire company and adventure which was Panda, the Very Bad Cat!

Mid-Grade Books:

  • Unfrogged, by Tamara Botting, features a princess named Meredith who is based entirely on the author and how clumsy she is. Tamara let this book sit for ten years before getting it published!
  • The Old Farmer’s Treasure– is based on the author’s husband’s childhood in Northern Ontario. There is also a sequel to this book coming in 2019 where the boys are all grown up!

 Adults Only:

  • Obsessed with Her– Was consulted on by the head of the Toronto Homicide Unit for not only credibility in some scenes, but also accuracy! This book is rated R and had to have a sticker put on the front of it because of the complaints that we were receiving. It has mature themes, language, and violence, and is not for the easily offended or squeamish. Also, the PREQUEL to Obsessed with Her, titled, Becoming James Cass, will be available for pre-order on our site in January 2019 and will be released in February 2019. This book currently has a 4.5-star rating on Good Reads. While the author was writing this book, her husband was away for five weeks, and she had to stop writing because she was scared to be alone! A lot of people think the author of this book is a man, but they are mistaken. And one more thing? The front cover gives away the ending:)

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Dealing with Critics…

December 7, 2018- Everyone is a critic. There are times when we all seem to think that we know better and that we know more when it comes to certain things; maybe we’re an expert in our field, or maybe we have many years of experience. The point is that there will always be someone who knows more than you.

Please remember that criticism when properly portrayed and worded can be extremely effective in helping us become better; publishers, like myself, often give constructive criticism to writers because we want them to apply what we’ve said to make them a better writer. It’s never, ever personal and is never meant to offend. I think that it’s a big problem in the world right now that people are unwilling to accept criticism. My only caveat is that the criticism given MUST be constructive, helpful, truthful, and kind. Also, I want to make this crystal clear: NEVER TAKE CRITICISM OR ADVICE FROM SOMEONE WHO IS NOT DOING BETTER THAN YOU. Read that sentence again.

As an author, publisher, and small business owner, you wouldn’t believe the hate mail I get. There’s always someone who is nasty, and mean, and has terrible things to say about what I’m doing or not doing, or what I should be doing, or what I’m offering or writing. I learned a long time ago that there are some people who always seem angry and continuously look for conflict. Walk away; the battle they are fighting isn’t with you, it’s with themselves. It’s important to remember this; you’re never going to be all things to all people, you’re never going to make everyone happy!  I’ve been on both ends of it, the receiving end and the giving end, and I’ve received some very brutal feedback from professionals as well as people who don’t think that I can do anything right. But, to the people who feel the need to criticize my business and the way that I run things, to those who are just downright horrible, don’t worry, I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing and your opinion is just that, your opinion. Thank goodness that for every person with something mean to say, there are ten others who love us.

Check yourself before you start to criticize someone else. If you’re the one receiving criticism, before you accept it, make sure that it’s truthful, constructive, and kind. If it’s not any of those things, take it with a grain of salt, and move on.

Wishing you every success,
X LLB

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Happy Birthday, Walt!

December 5, 2018– Ok, so today is Walt Disney’s birthday and I know he wasn’t an author, but he was one hell of an entrepreneur! We talk a lot about entrepreneurs on this blog, and as authors and illustrators, well, we are entrepreneurs. Walt was an artist, producer, and game-changer. To celebrate his birthday, let’s look at some interesting facts about the man behind the magic!

  1. He failed. A lot. Legend has it that Walt failed an epic 320 times before getting the financing for his dream of Disneyland. Imagine if he had of given up!
  2. He helped with the war effort. Even though the Disney Company was not in a good financial position at the beginning World War II, Walt decided it was vital that he and his company help in the war effort.  Walt Disney Training Films unit was created which were instruction films for the American military and propaganda films for the American public.  He won an Academy Award in 1943 for his short propaganda film, Der Fuehrer’s Face.
  3. He learned to draw by doing this. Walt spent most of his time at school doodling. He learned to draw by copying newspaper cartoons, specifically from an American Midwest newspaper called Appeal to Reason which his father was an avid reader of. Walt wasn’t interested in the political editorials, but he enjoyed looking at the front page cartoons. At this time there were no animated films or comic books, Walt found the cartoons exciting and the style demonstrated in the cartoons would later appear in his own!

Happy birthday to the legend that is Walt Disney!

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You’re Not Motivated to Write…

December 3, 2018– A lot of authors have this problem, they just aren’t motivated to write or work on their novels. It’s a massive problem with new and upcoming authors, and the last thing that I want to happen to you is for you to be another one of those authors who starts something but never finishes it.

I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve been at an event or doing a book signing where people come up to me and say, “I wrote a book too!” As soon as I say, “Oh, awesome; what is your book about?” Nine times out of ten the person will say, “Yeah, but I never finished it.” The easiest thing in the world is to start something, the hardest thing is to finish it. Be a finisher. I’m in the camp of thinking that believes that if you’re not going to finish something, don’t bother to start. Harsh, I know, but it’s true.

Here are some tips on helping you get motivated to write even when you don’t feel inspired.

  1. Set a timer. This works wonders when I’m not feeling it. I sit down at my laptop and set a timer for just fifteen minutes. I start writing, and most of the time it’s garbage, but guess what? I just turned on the faucet and the words begin to flow. Before I know it I’m writing way past the time of fifteen minutes. It works for me every, single time.
  2. Know that your mind is playing tricks. No one is always motivated so that is why we must learn to be disciplined. Your mind will do whatever it can to distract you from completing a task that you aren’t motivated to do. Stick to a writing schedule it’s half the battle. Don’t do a load of laundry, don’t load the dishwasher, don’t turn on the television, don’t answer emails. Do sit your ass in the chair and do your job.
  3. Make an appointment with yourself. This is sort of the same as the point above in sticking to a schedule, but I mean that you should quite literally schedule a writing appointment with yourself. Scheduling your work keeps you accountable to yourself and bosses don’t cancel. Keep that in mind the next time you decide to cancel the appointment you made with yourself.

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